Because life is weird sometimes, it sounds like Disney is facing down real life honest to goodness pirates (NOT the “yaar, matey” ones, but internet hacker types,) and a threat to release the first 20 minutes of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales weeks before the film’s release at the end of the month.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney CEO Robert Iger revealed that one of the studios summer releases had been pilfered by scurvy ridden internet ne’er do wells (our words, no his -but really Mr. Iger, when else are you going to get chance to use salty sea talk?) and is currently being held for ransom. While he isn’t saying which movie the hackers shanghai’d, Deadline is reporting that it’s hat enthusiast Johnny Depp‘s latest Pirates/theme park adaption/summer blockbuster/fifthquel in peril here.
Of course this isn’t the first time that a studio has seen a major release leaked onto the internet. The Expendables 3, Hostel Part 2 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine all fell victim to being dumped online early not to mention the massive Sony cyberterrorism incident a few years back that near crippled the media giant.
Apparently the hackers are threatening to release the film in 5 minute increments (aka trailers?) unless their demands are met and by the sounds of it, they won’t be. Iger has bluntly stated that Disney will not negotiate or pay the ransom and are currently working with law enforcement officials to bring these blackmailers to justice.
While we all wait to see if these modern day digital freebooters will make good on their threats, two things are clear. Disney should really be commended for taking this stance (the film would see a huge box office loss with a leaked internet release,) it would set a scary precedent for this plot to succeed. We’ve seen our entertainment held hostage before (season 5 of Orange Is The New Black for instance,) so it probably won’t be the last.
Plus… the pirates demanded the ransom be paid in Bitcoin which, I mean, come on.